Feb 23, 2013 1:34 AM by Jordan Mason
Maybe it's time to take a leap of faith and risk believing in this Colorado College hockey team.
After all the trials and tribulations that have beset the Tigers this season, they've now managed a feat that very few of their predecessors ever have - a six-game undefeated streak with less than a week remaining in February.
Friday's 4-3 victory over WCHA-leading St. Cloud not only gave CC a record of 3-0-3 over the course of the last month, but also kept its faint hopes alive for a home-ice playoff berth.
Three third-period tallies - all by the top line - wiped out a 2-1 Huskies lead after 40 minutes of play and helped the league's eighth-place team pull to within one game of .500 in conference play, at 9-10-4.
Sophomore winger Charlie Taft scored twice - including what proved to be the game winner with 5:52 left to play - and in between added an assist on a go-ahead goal by senior center Rylan Schwartz 4:27 into the final frame. Schwartz assisted on both of Taft's red lighters, the first of which tied the contest with only 33 seconds elapsed in the period.
Now 12-14-5 overall, Colorado College also got a big first-period goal from fourth-line center Jeff Collett after St. Cloud State struck twice within 11 seconds early in the contest to grab a quick 2-0 advantage. Freshman winger Peter Maric set up junior center Collett, earning his second assist in the last three outings, to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Senior netminder Joe Howe slammed the door the rest of the way, finishing with 40 saves while improving to 4-1-3 in his last eight starts. The only other goal he allowed came off the stick of freshman right wing Jonny Brodzinski, whose second of the game with 71 ticks left on the clock and six attackers on the ice for SCSU provided some typical last-minute drama.
Taft beat sophomore goaltender Ryan Faragher to put the Tigers up 4-2 off a nice goalmouth feed from Alexander Krushelnyski just 10 seconds after Howe stifled Kalle Kassila as the freshman right wing soloed in alone from the right side.
"The first five minutes of the game, we were just trying to get our legs under us," Taft said after his career-best performance. "For the rest of the game, we were really flying around and moving the puck well, getting it down low... I think we just really had a good team game. It's a huge win for us."
Faragher stopped 25 of 29 shots by CC.
Sophomore defenseman Andrew Prochno also scored for St. Cloud State, which dropped to 18-12-1 overall and 15-7-1 in the WCHA. The Huskies remain one point ahead of second-place Minnesota and Nebraska Omaha in the league standings heading into Saturday's rematch.
Colorado College remains in eighth place, five points behind Denver and Wisconsin, which are tied for sixth - the final home-ice playoff spot for the opening round of the league playoffs next month.